John Pountney's Ravioli with Silverbeet & Pancetta





This recipe makes use of one of the most common, maligned and overlooked winter vegetables. Silverbeet is robust, versatile and delicious. Swiss chard, as I know it, should be held in much higher regard. Silverbeet is used extensively in the restaurant during the winter, and it’s great value for money as well as very healthy!

Ingredients

(serves 10)

Fresh pasta

Best results come from using free-range eggs and Italian pasta flour labelled Tipo '00'

Makes 1kg
700 g pasta flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 whole eggs (5 if small)
9 egg yolks (10 if small)

Put the flour and salt in a processor and add the eggs and egg yolks. Pulse-blend until the pasta begins to come together into a loose ball of dough.

Knead the pasta dough on a flat surface lightly dusted with a little extra flour, until the mixture is smooth, about 3 mins. If the dough is very stiff and difficult to knead you may have to put back int the processor and blend in another whole egg.

Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 20 mins and up to two hours.

Filling:
1kg silverbeet
Salt and pepper
100g butter
2 red onions finely chopped
200g pancetta finely chopped
250g ricotta cheese
half a nutmeg grated
100 g Parmesan grated

Sage butter:
250 unsalted butter
1 bunch of sage, (whole leaves picked off stalks)

Method

Cut the leaves of the silverbeet from the stalks. Blanche, drain and roughly chop. Finely chop about 150g of the stalks, blanche and drain separately. Place in a colander and squeeze with a heavy weight.  Heat the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the pancetta and cook for a few minutes, just long enough for the pancetta to become translucent but not crisp. Add the silverbeet and cook for a few minutes. Season, remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, combine silverbeet, pancetta mix with ricotta, nutmeg, and Parmesan. The mixture should not be wet. If it is, add extra Parmesan. Taste for seasoning and ensure the mixture is completely cold before making the ravioli.

Divide the pasta into small amount the size of a large egg. Using a pasta machine, roll them out into long strips, one at a time to prevent drying and as thin as possible. Put teaspoons of filling about six centimetres apart on the sheet, in the centre of the half nearest you so that you can fold the other half over to make a parcel.  Brush around the fillings with a pastry brush dipped in water before folding so that the envelopes will seal properly. Using a pasta cutter seal each envelope by cutting on three sides (the fourth is the fold). Dust a large plate or tray with semolina flour and carefully place the ravioli on it, making sure that they do not touch. You should have around 50.  

To make the sage butter, heat the butter and sage until the butter becomes a nut-brown colour.
Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and put in the ravioli (divide according to the size of the pot).  Cook according to how thin you managed to roll the pasta. They will take up to 2 minutes. Test on the fold of the ravioli where the pasta is thickest.

Serve the ravioli on warm plates with a little of the sage butter and extra Parmesan.